FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – From Lamborghini to Picasso paintings to the finest wines in the world, you’ll find all of it and more under one roof in Fort Lauderdale.
The most valuable stuff in the world is all being housed in a building most people don’t even know exist.
“For me personally, I saw pallets of Mongolian dinosaur bones. That was super cool. We were storing them and transporting them to New York,” Susan McGregor, the president of RoboVault, said.
RoboVault is one of the most innovative vaults in the world.
Built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the worst there is, the building appears to be just another storage building from the outside.
But inside the robots run things.
Press a few buttons, hand over a fingerprint and the automated system stores and retrieves cars and storage pods on demand.
We wondered though is it all a gimmick? Why do it this way? Why not fork lifts and a guy or a storage units like most people?
“Well, the reason we use the robotic system, the reason it’s so unique and important… First of all, there is no human access here, so you really minimize the opportunity for human error. Also it’s secure. Everything is stored in this section 35 to 70 feet above sea level,” McGregor explained.
The building is broken up into various sections.
Wine aficionados would be in paradise on the East side.
McGregor took CBS4 past a security checkpoint. She put her pin and thumb print in. A door swung open.
“You are going to immediately feel the temperature change when you walk in. Our temperature is maintained at 55 degrees, 70 percent humidity,” she explained.
The halls are lined with lockers. Behind each private locker are cases of wine. In some instances, there are thousands of bottles.
Collectors are looking to preserve their treasured grape juice.
McGregor recalled what one client told her about why they store their wine there.
“The obvious threats to wine are temperature, light and vibration. But the biggest threat to wine is family,” she laughs.
Shari Gherman runs the American Fine Wine Competition every year at FIU, where 750 winemakers compete for bragging rights.
“Oh absolutely! Not just bragging rights. It sells wine,” Gherman explains.
She will store as many as 3,000 bottles a year at the RoboVault. All of it kept behind Fort Knox like security.
“Is this overkill? Is this too much?” CBS4’s David Sutta asked.
“Absolutely not. Definitely not overkill. And the reason why is because wine is like a living breathing thing. Like artwork. If you don’t store it properly, if you don’t store an exotic car properly, things happen to it. This is a proper storage facility,” she said.
In another section of the building, CBS4’s David Sutta found himself surrounded by giant pieces of art.
Jessica Ransom, RoboVault’s art manager, showed him around.
“I don’t know of any other facility like this – certainly in Florida.” she said.
Artists and art houses rely on RoboVault, especially during the recent Art Basel.
Some of the most expensive masterpieces are stored in steel pods and moved by robots.
As Ransom and Sutta stood in a pod filled with canvas, she explained what makes this setup so great.
“So this container was brought down and what would happen, if a client wanted to have an opportunity to come in privately, they just pull their car or truck in and transfer in and out. Or our art handlers can take care of it,” she said.
And all of that happens privately behind double-closed doors.
McGregor brought the crew into a set of double doors. It’s a man-trap of sorts. You must close one door to open the next. She reached over to a panel and swiped a fob. She then put her fingerprint on a scanner. After a beep the door unlocked.
Sutta walked through to a massive safe. The kind of safe you see in banks and movies. In there, storage containers line the walls of all sizes. He was surrounded by stuff that was definitely valuable, but absolutely no idea what it was.
“We like to call it a vault within a vault because it’s a safety deposit vault that is within a Category 5 rated facility.” McGregor explained.
It takes four layers of security, which Sutta saw, just to get into the vault. Once you’re in, you get a onetime use key.
“The key is programmed to open your vault. So if you put it in the wrong safety deposit box it won’t work,” she explained.
Standing in the room with, well, who knows what, you have to wonder. This is the stuff bank robber movies are made of.
McGregor laughed when Sutta asked about it. It’s almost as if she is expecting it.
“I’m not nervous about it because of the construction of facility. And the security and I think we are in very good shape,” she said.
RoboVault admitted their biggest concern is cyber-security and of all people, their clients. They are the only ones who could have access.
“We are pretty selective with our clients. We know who are clients are,” McGregor confirmed.
Years ago when the vault first opened, many clients were anonymous. McGregor quickly changed that. And no matter where you are, you are being watched – cameras recording your every move.
So at this point, you are probably wondering how much does all this cost? Well, for $525 a month you can store your fancy cars.